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Is coliving stay is safe during Covid?

I'm sure you remember the covid circuit breaker period during 2020 in Singapore.  It was a stressful situation for almost everyone in Singapore, including us, at Adobha. 

Few questions kept playing in my mind in a repeat loop for several months during this period are

  • What if one of my tenants in my property gets COVID?
  • What's going to happen to the other tenants sharing the same house with the covid tenant?
  • How are the neighbors going to react to such a situation?
  • How would the property owner react?
  • What will the condo MCST will ask us to do next?
  • Will we be able to rent the same room to any other tenant in the future?

On March 4th, 2020, a tenant in one of my property, posted the below message in the house WhatsApp group. I'm sharing the actual message posted on the group:

 

 "Hi All, FYI: I had to visit the doctor for for chest congestion and sore throat yesterday. Most of the tests came normal. However, considering the current situation, I have undergone SWAB test(covid test). The results are awaited and will take 5 days. Till that time request no one to come home. Will keep you posted. If there's any further procedures to inform the condo please let me know" 

 

When I read this message, I was shocked, and I took some time to come to my senses! That thing which I did not want to happen is unfolding in front of my eyes! I called my tenant, and I inquired about his health & family. I was worried, but I tried to conceal my feelings. My tenant could sense my worry and assured me that he feels okay now and is not anticipating covid positive results. Though it is a kind of assurance to me, I need to wait for 5 days to know the correct results. After some time I rechecked the Whatsapp if any other tenant in that apartment responded or reacted to that message. However, no one replied, and I assumed they were also worried like me and did not know how to respond, or they already reached a mental state that Covid could strike anyone!

When I woke up the following day at 7 am, I checked for any new follow-up messages from that house group. As there were no new messages, I called my tenant and enquired about this cough and sore throat, and he mentioned he is still having cough and slight temperature! His reply gave me shivers, but I knew the fact is I can't do anything about it now, at least till I know the final test results.

The Result:

 

On the same day, around 11 am, the tenant said he got the Covid test report, and he is Covid Negative. I thanked him for the update and requested him to share the actual covid results with housemates.  Though I felt relieved, I was sure such incidents will happen again and we need a better system to ensure tenants' safety and precautions to avoid something happening! 

Next Steps Action Plan:

 

I checked the internet to find if any other coliving company has better solution handling such this situation? My Internet search did not reveal much, so we came up with our plans and guidelines for ensuring a safe co-living experience.

  • "Strictly No visitors" to the apartment. (Generally, we are open to tenants' visitors). This policy alone made a lot of tenants hate us. However, I assured them these are only temporary measures.
  • Mandatory temperature screening for all tenants voluntarily and recorded online daily on our app. (these initiates were started in Adobha even before govt recommended such actions).
  • Reduced the frequency of visits by housekeeping executives to each apartment
  • Adobhas' manager cannot enter any property, and all support to be carried out only via phone.

Though I'm aware these are not foolproof methods, we are confident about our proactive approach to fighting the virus, and we are not just a silent spectator anymore! 

The Verdict

 

Is CO living is a safe way of living during a pandemic? 

My sincere answer is a "BIG NO". The chances of one getting exposure are slightly high in a co-living space compared to living in separate accommodation.  It's a fact there is no hiding or running from the virus till we get an effective vaccine, one can contact virus from any location! Until then, the only option is to keep our fight against the virus high and be vigilant and stop panicking. Hence, in my opinion, sharing a house with few other tenants does not put you in any higher infection risk category. During this pandemic time, where there is no guarantee of employment or deduction in current salary, coliving accommodation is still an affordable proposition. At Adobha, we have done whatever we could do to keep up the fight against the virus, and we assure you a safe stay in our place! 

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